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Old March 6th, 2006, 4:50 pm
merlin455  Male.gif merlin455 is offline
Fourth Year
Join Date: 06th January 2005
Location: France
Posts: 601
Re: The Sibling Theory v5

Part 1 of the essay. It is too long for a single post.


Harry Potter : The Sibling Theory.
The Secret at the heart of it all !
By “Merlin”, March 2006 version.

There is one thing… it is kind of the heart of it all. And it kind of explains everything and no-one’s quite got there but a couple of people have skirted it. So you know… I couldn’t divert now, everything has been building up to it, and I’ve laid all my clues.
- J.K. Rowling, June 19th, 2003.



The Sibling Theory… What is it ?
It is a Harry Potter theory. Basically, it says that Harry and Hermione are brother and sister, and that this secret will be revealed in book seven. Hermione is James’s and Lily’s secret daughter, who was raised by adoptive parents : Mr and Mrs Granger.

Harry and Hermione brother and sister ? Do you mean that they are as close as a brother and sister ?
No, no ! That wouldn’t be much of a revelation, would it ? What I mean is that they truly are related by blood !

Isn’t that a bit… er… a bit Star Wars ?
Was G. Lucas the first author who ever wrote a story with lost siblings ?
Of course he wasn’t !
I’ll discuss objections to the theory (see part 5 below), and this is probably the most common one. But an eternal myth like this belongs to no one. Furthermore, it could be, in fact, very different from Star Wars. I believe – although not all supporters of the theory will follow me here – that Hermione herself knows the truth. That would make the entire thing quite original indeed !

Supporters of the theory ? Are there many of them ?
A few. The Sibling Theory has been discussed on the Internet since 2002, and a small minority of fans have been supporting it since that time. If you are interested, I’ll give a brief history of the theory at the end of this essay.
Several people helped build this theory over the years, and much credit should go to the “STS” (Sibling Theory Supporters) group on the Darkmark boards, where the theory was developed between 2002 and 2004.
Anyway, while all supporters agree on the basic concept that Hermione is Harry’s sister, they may have different ideas on the details of the theory, on how it can fit in the overall plot, on the relative importance of the various clues… What I present in this essay is my personal view, my own version of the theory. And my own uncertainties too… I will, however, give an overview of some variants and alternatives that were discussed over the years.

What first gave you this idea ?
The first thing that gave me this idea is the nature of the relationship between Harry and Hermione. It looked like JKR wasn’t going to have them fall in love, yet I felt they were more than just friends… “Very platonic friends”, JKR had called them… I thought there was more to this : JKR had not lied, but she hadn’t told us everything either…

But what is the theory based on ? Do you have canon to back it up ?
If you mean an indisputable proof, then no I have none. If I had, there would be no point having a seventh book, would there ? No, JKR gave us clues, not proof. If the theory is correct, the ultimate proof will be the seventh book itself.
I do think we have enough clues to support the theory, to make it one of the strongest and best supported theories out there. As the theory is built on these clues, I’ll discuss them first, in part 2 below. A few of these clues are – in my opinion – really strong : the kind of thing that must mean something.
For instance, did you notice that Harry James and Hermione Jane have the same initials (H.J.) ? And before she changed her name to “Granger”, JKR had named Hermione “Puckle” ! H.J.P. !

Wow ! All right, I’m waiting to see the other clues. But how do you have this theory fit in the overall plot ? How does it all work ? What will a sibling relation add to the story ?
This is the most speculative part. I’ll discuss this below, in part 3. There are several ways this sibling relation could be a vital element of the plot, or even the key to the final outcome. Different supporters of the theory will often have different opinions here.
Most agree that if Hermione is Harry’s sister, then somehow she must play an important role in Harry’s protection – much like Aunt Petunia. We know Lily’s blood is important for Harry’s protection. I’ll explain the “Protection Theory” in part 4 below.

One last question : when will you consider the theory has been confirmed – or refuted ?
As there is only one more book to go, this question is now easy to answer.
The theory will be confirmed if and only if the existence of the sibling relation is revealed in book 7.
The theory will be refuted if no such thing is revealed in book 7.
It can be refuted earlier than that if JKR decides to end this theory the way she has already ended some others, in the “rumours” section of her website. A direct statement that Harry and Hermione are not blood-related in any way would effectively kill the theory.


I’ll discuss some “general” clues first. Then, it will be easiest to proceed through the books in chronological order. Finally, we’ll examine a few things JKR said in interviews, or wrote on her website.

I’m going to discuss a number of things from the books, some of which are really strong, striking clues, some of which are not. Among the later are a number of things that make a lot of sense in the framework of the theory – as opposed to proper clues : things that certainly help see “how it works”, but are unlikely to convince you in the first place. They may, however, help you see the “big picture”, and this is the reason why I decided to include them.
So if you are unconvinced, I suggest you skip these points first, and concentrate on those clues I tell you are the strongest. You may still come back to the rest later… When you put it all together, you get – maybe not quite a certitude – but at least the strong feeling there must be something.

So which are the strongest clues ? There are many… I’ll tell you when we reach them. Here is just a brief overview :
Hermione is a mysterious character, as we know almost nothing about her life outside Hogwarts, or her parents. What we do know is that JKR had originally named her Hermione Jane Puckle (H.J.P.) and that in an early draft of book 1 chapter 1, Mr Granger was the first person to find the ruins of the Potters’ house… We are never told Hermione looks anything like her mum or dad. In book 1, Hermione keeps interfering in Harry’s affairs, even before they get friends. She hugs him at the end of book 1, just minutes before he receives the benefit of his mother’s protection – a protection we learn later he receives when he is close to her blood. In book 2, after Hermione has been petrified, McGonagall runs to Harry – ignoring Ron. In book 4, Hermione jumps from her chair when she hears the words “a father substitute”. In book 5, the importance of the bond of blood is emphasised (Hagrid and Grawp). Hermione mixes up the runes ehwaz and eihwaz (see below, in book 5 clues, for the explanation). Hermione’s Patronus is an otter, and JKR has a drunk Slughorn call Harry “Parry Otter”. Etc…

Note that several clues indicate that Hermione herself knows the truth. At least, this is the way I understand it. On the other hand, Harry doesn’t know - except possibly for a memory hidden very deep in his subconscious.

2.1 General clues

2.1.1 - First of all, I’d like to discuss the nature of Harry’s and Hermione’s relationship.
When reading the books, I have the feeling that Harry and Hermione have a special relation. They have a special thing - something unique, beyond friendship - that is not romantic. This is more visible on Hermione’s side – hence the idea that she knows the truth. Her behaviour at the beginning of PS is very interesting – her first meeting with Harry in the train, her highly interfering attitude, the Halloween evening. I’ll come back to this when we discuss the book 1 clues. Most importantly, the argument “it’s because they are friends” cannot work at that time, because as a matter of fact, they are not friends yet.

Clearly, this special relation is what led an important number of fans to “shipping” Harry and Hermione.
For years, the “H/Hr ship” was indeed an alternative way to look at the H-Hr relation. But I think it is no longer a valid option since JKR said in July 2005 :
I mean, that’s it. It’s done, isn’t it? We know. Yes, we do now know that it's Ron and Hermione. I do feel that I have dropped heavy –
Yet, in the same interview, JKR refused to call the Harry-Hermione shippers “delusional”. They were not : the clues were really there in the books, and the shippers found many. But they draw the wrong conclusion : all these clues meant… something else !

Through the entire series, Hermione’s behaviour with Harry is very “sister-like”.

Harry and Hermione have a way of guessing each other’s thoughts : this happens quite often, they know at first glance what the other has in mind while Ron is completely lost. Sometimes, they also finish each other’s sentences (not unlike Fred and George).

Hermione sometimes speaks in Harry’s name (something nobody else does).
Examples :
- PoA, chapter 11 : “Don’t be silly”, said Hermione in a panicky voice, “Harry doesn’t want to kill anyone, do you, Harry ?”
- GoF, chapter 10 : “Ron… Harry doesn’t want to play Quidditch right now… He’s worried, and he’s tired… we all need to go to bed.”
- And of course in OotP - with Rita Skeeter - about Harry’s love life.

She even speaks in James’s and Lily’s name (something nobody but their old friends does). Example :
- PoA, chapter 11 : “Your mum and dad wouldn’t want you to get hurt, would they ? They’d never want you to go looking for Black !”

In GoF, Hermione wasn’t affected in any way by the rumours about her and Harry. Harry was annoyed, she wasn’t. When she read Rita Skeeter’s article “Harry Potter’s Secret Heartache”, she was rather amused… On the other hand, Harry kept repeating “no she is not my girlfriend”. Does it mean Hermione knew something that allowed her to laugh at these rumours ?

In OotP, she was perfectly comfortable talking about Harry’s relation with Cho. Even when Harry told her Cho was getting jealous (jealous of her ! ), she was just “sorry”. A friend – even a close friend – of the opposite sex should have been at least slightly embarrassed in such a situation. Not Hermione : she gave Harry more advice… this makes sense if she is Harry’s sister.
In HBP, Ginny told Harry it was Hermione who had originally given her some very good advice so that Harry would eventually notice her…
So, I think it is safe to say that Hermione has been interfering in Harry’s love life quite a lot indeed !

About jealousy, note that JKR has developed the topic of Harry and Hermione causing jealousy around quite a lot already : first Rita’s articles, Krum’s jealousy and Harry having to say “no she is not my girlfriend” in GoF. Then Cho’s jealousy in OotP… And even a few comments Ron made, in OotP ( “how do you know ?” ) and HBP ( “I’m tall !” ).
So, now what ? Is it all to have them stay “just good friends” in the end ? Why insist so much on that topic in that case ? What was the point ? Or will Hermione be Harry’s girlfriend (thus making Krum and Cho right after all) ? Or will something else be revealed in the end (something that will make Krum’s and Cho’s jealousy pointless) ?

One last remark on relationships. After HBP, and most importantly after the interview JKR gave Mugglenet and TLC in July 2005, it has become clear that the canon romantic relationships are Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny.
First point : with the Sibling Theory, the trio thus represents all three kinds of “love”. I like the idea that all three kinds of “love” will have a role in defeating the Dark Side.
- Harry and Ron represent the power of a strong friendship,
- Ron and Hermione represent the power of romantic love,
- Harry and Hermione represent the power of family love, the bond of blood.
Second point : the Sibling Theory also creates an interesting symmetry in the quatuor.
- Harry and Ron are friends,
- Hermione and Ginny are friends,
- Harry and Ginny are in love,
- Ron and Hermione are in love,
- Ron and Ginny are siblings,
- Harry and Hermione are siblings.
Two pairs of friends, two pairs of lovers, two pairs of siblings.

2.1.2 – Second thing, there is the astounding lack of background information about Hermione, her parents, her life outside Hogwarts ! Given the way JKR usually gives us such information for other characters, this can be considered a major clue for the theory – or at least for Hermione hiding something big.

Let’s start with Hermione’s psychology : why is she a “know-it-all” ? Why is it so important for her to be the best student in the school ? There is a strange lack of background information here : JKR usually tells us about such things. For instance, we know Ron is a jealous character because of his childhood in the shadow of his five brothers, and also because of his family’s lack of money. We know Voldemort hates Muggles because of his father. For Hermione, we don’t know anything.
The Sibling Theory provides an answer : if Hermione knows that Harry is her brother, she wants to keep up with him ! Harry is “the boy who lived”, he is famous in the entire world ; so, Hermione must prove that she can do as well as he can do, or even better. At least, in class, she can answer questions he can’t !
The other possible answer would be : Hermione must prove she is the best because she is Muggleborn. But this doesn’t work : she was already a “know-it-all” when she first arrived at Hogwarts. If she had been knowing about the wizarding world for a few weeks only, this couldn’t have affected her psychology so quickly.

And by the way, Hermione really knew a bit too much about the wizarding world - and particularly about Harry Potter - when she first arrived at Hogwarts…

And of course, there is the big question : why do we know so little about the Grangers – and about Hermione’s life with them ? They are the parents of one of the main three characters, but we know virtually nothing about them, except that they are dentists. Why ? Also note that Hermione has never said “mum” or “dad” (alone) in the story. Not once in six books ! It’s always “my parents” or “mum and dad”…
They are Muggles, thus unimportant ? But there are important Muggle characters in the story ! And it’s not just the Dursleys… And even if they are not very important (as JKR herself said), it is still strange that we should know less about Hermione’s parents than we do about the Dursleys’ neighbours or about the villagers of Little Hangleton !

In OotP, Hermione cancelled her Christmas ski trip with her parents. In HBP, we don’t even know where she was for Christmas : she didn’t say. Concerning her life outside Hogwarts, Hermione is a mysterious character.

2.1.3 - Physical resemblance is an issue ; JKR almost always tells us about features of physical resemblance between relatives : Harry and his parents, Dudley and Vernon, Vernon and Marge, the entire Weasley family, Draco and his father, Neville and his mother, Hagrid and his father (same eyes), Dumbledore and his brother, Amycus and Alecto (Harry knows at first glance that they are brother and sister) ; this is true even for minor characters such as Fleur and her sister, Viktor Krum and his father, etc…

But NOT for Hermione and the Grangers. Even though Hermione is one of the main three characters, and even though we have seen the Grangers twice (in CoS and in OotP), we have never been told Hermione looks anything like “mum and dad”. Never !
This is most unusual for JKR ! So unusual I consider this a major clue. We saw Krum’s father only once, very briefly, but these few lines were enough for JKR to tell us Viktor has his father’s nose. Hermione is a much more important character than Viktor, so her parents, even if they aren’t very important, should at least be more important than Viktor’s. Yet, JKR never tells us what they look like.

There are a few examples of relatives who look nothing alike in the story, for instance Lily and Petunia : Petunia’s eyes are “so unlike her sister’s”. But at least, JKR told us something : she gave us this piece of information. In the case of Hermione and the Grangers, the strange thing is that we aren’t told anything at all ! As with Hermione’s background (see above), JKR is keeping information well hidden.

True, we aren’t told Hermione looks like Harry either (well… they are about the same height, and they both have “wild” hair ! But they don’t have the same hair).
We are told another character in the story has large front teeth : Petunia Dursley (Hermione’s aunt if the theory is true).

2.1.4 – JKR likes to play with words and names.
And the name “Hermione” is rather interesting !
Hermione = “Her my own” or “Her my one”…
I’ll discuss this point again in the GoF clues below (Krum’s pronunciation).

By the way, “Hermione” sounds very similar to “hermana” which means… “sister” in Spanish !

There are a few other examples of JKR playing with words and names, one of which can be considered an important clue : in OotP, JKR gave Hermione an Otter Patronus. In HBP, JKR had Slughorn mispronounce Harry’s name as “Parry Otter”. Coincidence ?

2.1.5 - The “Theory of Interruptions”.
This theory is independent from the Sibling Theory. It says there is a regular pattern in the books : when a character (often Hermione) suddenly stops speaking in the middle of a sentence (doesn’t apply if interrupted by someone else) then there is a clue for us to find. The interruption is materialised by a “-” in the text.
As a matter of fact, this “Theory of Interruptions” works pretty well with the Sibling Theory ! Here are a few examples :
- PS, chapter 6 : I mean, it’s the very best school of witchcraft there is, I’ve heard –
(Yes ? Heard from whom ? )
- PS, chapter 6 : I know all about you, of course – I got a few extra books for background reading…
(Yes, Hermione ? How did you learn so much about Harry ? )
- PS, chapter 16 : …friendship and bravery and – oh Harry…
(Friendship and bravery and what ? Family ? )

2.2 Clues from book 1

PS is an important book for sibling clues. First, it is a book JKR wrote before she could possibly imagine Harry Potter would be such a success. Second, the first chapter of the book is one of the very few parts of the story that is NOT written with a focus on Harry’s point of view. And JKR herself said she had written many variants of this first chapter that would – if put together – give away almost the whole plot :
Discarded first chapters of book one: I reckon I must've got through fifteen different alternative chapters of book one. The reason for which I discarded each of them were: They all gave too much away. And in fact if you put all those discarded first chapters together, almost the whole plot is explained.

2.2.1 – Let’s examine this first chapter. While most of the story is written in the “third person limited” narration style (third person – but the narration is focused through Harry’s eyes), this chapter is an exception : it is written in “third person omniscient” style – except the bit that is from Vernon’s point of view.

The very first time we hear about Harry :
The Dursleys knew that the Potters had a small son too…
Why does the narrator use this indirect form “the Dursleys knew…” ?
What did the Dursleys ignore then ?
A few lines above, we hear about Lily directly from the narrator :
Mrs Potter was Mrs Dursley’s sister…
So, why doesn’t the narrator simply say : “The Potters had a small son too” ?
Because this would not be the entire truth if the Potters had two children, thus JKR could not write such a sentence in “third person omniscient” narration style. But the sentence about what the Dursleys knew is the exact truth.

A bit later in chapter 1, McGonagall’s behaviour is interesting. In fact, her bahaviour is quite unique among the people who knew the Potters ! Why did she – of all people – spend one full day waiting at Privet Drive ? This has never been explained.
I think she is one of the very few people who know the truth about Hermione.
Her behaviour in this chapter certainly suggests she must have been closer to Lily and/or James than we know… When Dumbledore tells her that they are dead, she is moved to tears :
“Lily and James… I can’t believe it… I didn’t want to believe it… Oh, Albus…”
Dumbledore answers :
“I know… I know…”
What does he know exactly ? Is there more to this sentence ?
Then, Dumbledore tells her he is going to bring Harry to the Dursleys. At first, McGonagall doesn’t agree :
Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed and then said, “Yes – yes, you’re right, of course.”
Well, JKR insists quite a lot here, doesn’t she ? (McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed…) So, what was Minerva going to say ?
According to the theory, it could be : “Don’t you think he should rather go with his sister ?” Anyway, McGonagall clearly had another idea.

2.2.2 – The first time Hermione and Harry meet in the train…
She says :
I’d have found out everything I could if it was me.
“If it was me”… This is a very natural thought for Hermione… if she is Harry’s sister. She’ll use this expression again in the story, when talking to Harry :
“I’d be furious if it was me” (OotP).

Now, something I consider an important clue :
Hermione entered Harry’s compartment on the pretext of searching Trevor the toad. There is already something a bit strange here, as Neville had already asked for Trevor. This strongly suggests that Trevor was merely a pretext, a pretext Hermione used to enter the compartment.
I think we can even go a little further than that – although what follows is a little more speculative : where was Trevor during all that time ? Did the little toad find his way to the boat (where he was eventually found) all by himself ? Clever Trevor !
I think he could have been in Hermione’s pocket. She took the toad just to send Neville look around, and then have a good reason to see her long-lost brother at last ! Ron’s attempt to do magic then gave her an excuse to stay.
Note that when Ron told her they hadn’t seen Trevor, Hermione wasn’t listening. The answer didn’t interest her ; but then, why had she asked that question in the first place ?

Shortly after that : as soon as she hears that Harry and Ron might have been fighting (with Draco), Hermione comes back in a hurry !
You haven’t been fighting, have you ?
It seems that she cares a lot for two boys she had never met before… She also tells them to change clothes : typical thing an (older) sister would say !

2.2.3 – Hermione’s behaviour before Halloween ; I think it is highly significant – a major clue, because Hermione keeps interfering in Harry’s life, even though they are not friends yet.

For instance, in chapter 9, Hermione’s behaviour is quite excessive :
I can’t believe you are going to do this, Harry.
Sure enough, Harry notices it :
Harry couldn’t believe anyone could be so interfering.
At that point, they aren’t friends yet. They’ll become friends after Halloween and the troll. But if Harry is her brother, and if she knows it, Hermione’s behaviour makes perfect sense. We aren’t told she behaves like that with anyone else at that time.

Chapter 10, Halloween. Hermione is crying, alone in the girls’ toilets.
Let’s consider it from Hermione’s point of view… if she is Harry’s sister. Let’s see how much sense it makes.
At the beginning of PS, she is finally going to meet her brother. She knows he’s famous, she might also know he doesn’t know anything about the wizarding world… So what does she do ? She studies hard, so that she can help Harry cope with Hogwarts, to make his transition into the wizarding world easier. She gets on the train, and as soon as possible she meets him… with the cover story of looking for Neville’s toad. She sees Ron there, and maybe she is a little jealous : Harry already has a friend ! Maybe he won’t need to rely on her… maybe she won’t be able to help him. So what does she do, then ? She puts Ron down… twice… first with the “are you sure that’s a real spell ? Well, it’s not very good, is it ?” comment ; and again with the “you’ve got dirt on your nose” comment. At that time, she sees Ron almost as a threat to her relationship with her brother.
Then we get to the day in question… Halloween ! Hermione is already feeling’s the anniversary of her true parents’ death : 10 years today ! Then instead of being paired with her brother in charms class, she is paired with her rival. She wants to prove to Harry that she can be more helpful than Ron… so once again, she shows Ron up. That’s too much for Ron, who makes the “she’s a nightmare, honestly !” comment to Harry. Hermione overhears it, “knocks into Harry” and starts crying.
From what we know of Hermione, she is not really prone to hysterics, so crying like that does seem a bit out of character. Could it be that it’s not only Ron’s comment that brought on the tears ? The fact she “knocked into Harry” strongly suggests she’d been upset because Ron had said that to Harry ! Otherwise, she would rather have knocked into Ron, wouldn’t she ?
Let’s look at it like this… This is the anniversary of a very traumatic day for her… and it looks to her like she might lose her brother to Ron. If Harry ends up not liking her… who will she have left ? He is the only true family she has, and she knows it.
That would make anyone cry, wouldn’t it ?
But finally, that very evening, they will become friends at last. Just 10 years after their parents’ death.

2.2.4 – A few examples of Hermione’s behaviour with Harry.
During the Quidditch match, chapter 13 :
“Come on Harry !” Hermione screamed, leaping on to her seat to watch as Harry sped straight at Snape – she didn’t even notice Malfoy and Ron rolling around under her seat…”
Who do you think she is caring for most in that scene ?
Is it because of the match ? This seems unlikely. Hermione isn’t that interested in Quidditch ; she will say so explicitly in OotP :
at least my happiness doesn't depend on Ron's goalkeeping ability.
But apparently, it is different when Harry is playing. Family pride, you know…

In chapter 16, Hermione is reluctant to let Harry go through the trapdoor ( “You’ll be expelled !” ) Then Harry explains there will be no more school to be expelled from if Voldemort comes back, and concludes : “Voldemort killed my parents, remember ?”
This makes Hermione change her mind : “You’re right, Harry”, said Hermione in a small voice.
Quite normal, if Voldemort killed her parents too !

2.2.5 – JKR arranged the plot so that Hermione never looked into the Mirror of Erised, unlike Harry and Ron. Why ? What would she have seen there ? Would this have given away too much ?
(This is almost the same as the “Boggart” clue in book 3 : see below).

2.2.6 – Chapter 16 : the Giant Chessboard.
Harry, Ron and Hermione play a game of chess, and take the place of three pieces : Harry is a bishop, Ron is a knight, Hermione is a castle.
- The Bishop : this piece is usually represented with it's head cracked open, quite an obvious reference to Harry's scar !
- The Knight : The faithful friend... The Knight piece is a good symbol of Ron's qualities (Ron will actually sacrifice himself in the game).
- The Castle : so, what could it mean for Hermione ?
Well, it's obvious, isn't it ? The Castle is Home ! Protection ! Hermione is Harry's protection when he is home... home where his mother's blood dwells !
(See the “Protection Theory”, part 4 below).

2.2.7 – The scene before Harry meets Quirrell/Voldemort (chapter 16) :
Hermione’s lips trembled and she suddenly dashed at Harry and threw her arms around him.
This could have been one of the moments she desperately wanted to tell him the truth !
And then she said :
friendship, and bravery, and - oh, Harry
What was she about to add ? Was it and family ?

This scene is immensely important for the Protection Theory : I think this hug is one of the strongest moments in the entire series ! A few minutes after that, the protection Harry received from his mother’s sacrifice will save his life. The symbol is extremely strong : Harry has this protection when he is near his mother’s blood, and this is what the hug symbolises.

2.3 Clues from book 2

2.3.1 – More on Hermione’s attitude towards Harry. In chapter 4, she writes :
I hope everything went all right and that Harry is OK and that you didn't do anything illegal to get him out, Ron, because that would get Harry into trouble, too. I've been really worried and if Harry is all right, will you please let me know at once…
Note that she mentions Harry three times in this letter, and Ron only once.
Also note the way she says : “because that would get Harry into trouble, too”.
It sounds like Hermione means : “I can’t prevent you from getting yourself into trouble, this is your business. But don't get my brother into trouble, Ron !”

2.3.2 – Hermione’s behaviour is peculiar when Draco insults her in this book… Being called a “Mudblood” doesn’t seem to affect her very much, does it ?
OK, it could be because she doesn’t understand what it means at first. However, it still doesn’t affect her very much in GoF (Malfoy) and OotP (Malfoy and Kreacher). And at that time, she does know what it means.
This could be because she is not really Muggleborn. Just pretending.

2.3.3 – There are a few “McGonagall clues” in CoS. Important clues. Minerva’s behaviour is a bit strange on a few occasions, which indicates she must know quite a lot.

After Hermione and Penelope have been petrified (chapter 14)… Professor McGonagall goes straight to Harry :
Potter, I think you’d better come with me…
Is it because Harry is Hermione’s friend ? If it was that… then she would ask Ron as well, wouldn’t she ?
But she doesn’t seem to care about Ron… She includes him as an afterthought, and only after Ron himself comes running up to them :
Yes, perhaps you’d better come too, Weasley.
Note the “perhaps… too” in the above sentence.
Quite strange, isn’t it ?
Is McGonagall a H/Hr shipper ? Hmmmm… that wouldn’t make much sense, would it ?
But this is perfectly normal if Hermione is Harry’s sister and McGonagall knows it.

A bit later (chapter 16), McGonagall is moved to tears when Harry (not Ron) asks her if they can see Hermione in the Hospital Wing :
Yes, Potter, of course you may visit Miss Granger. (Then she must blow her nose ! )
Again, not a word for Ron…
And note that she is allowing Harry to break a security rule ! It is for security reasons that visits to the Hospital Wing had been forbidden.
Not really like Minerva McGonagall, is it ? There must be very exceptional circumstances for her to behave like that ! A secret sibling is a very exceptional circumstance indeed.
She must have thought something like :
“Poor boy ! He doesn’t know… He doesn’t know, and yet he must feel it somehow… and he misses her.” (At this point, good old Minerva must blow her nose).

2.4 Clues from book 3

2.4.1 – The Boggart scenes are yet another indication of the fact JKR doesn’t want to reveal too much on Hermione’s background. Hermione didn’t look into the Mirror of Erised in PS ; we didn’t see her fight a Boggart in PoA.

During Lupin’s class (chapter 7), all students fought the Boggart except Harry and Hermione.
We know the reason why Lupin didn’t allow Harry to do it : he was afraid (wrongly) that the Boggart would assume the shape of Lord Voldemort. But why didn’t Hermione fight the Boggart ? This question has never been answered.
Well… A Boggart can give away quite a lot. For instance, Lupin’s Boggart (the moon) does reveal his big secret. So, this should mean either that Lupin didn’t want Hermione to do it (because he personally knows the truth or possibly because Dumbledore had told him “Miss Granger shouldn’t do it” ) or that Hermione herself didn’t want to fight the Boggart in public (and thus stayed behind during the lesson).

When Hermione finally fought a Boggart during her exam (chapter 16), nobody but her could see what shape it assumed… She said it was McGonagall telling her she had failed “everything”.
I’m not saying Hermione lied, but did “everything” mean her exams ? Not necessarily…
With the Protection Theory (see part 4 below) Hermione’s Boggart could actually have been McGonagall telling her she had “failed everything” : Hermione saw her dead brother, and a very reproachful McGonagall telling her she had failed to protect him !

2.4.2 – More on Hermione’s behaviour with Harry, her reactions…

Chapter 11 :
“I can hear my mum screaming and pleading with Voldemort. And if you’d heard your mum screaming like that, just about to be killed, you wouldn’t forget it in a hurry. And if you found out someone who was supposed to be a friend of hers betrayed her and sent Voldemort after her -”
“There’s nothing you can do !”, said Hermione, looking stricken.

Note the way Harry says : “If YOU had heard, YOU wouldn’t… if YOU found out…”
Now, why is Hermione “stricken” at these words ? Is it because she is afraid Harry might try and look for Sirius Black himself ?
Sure she is afraid ; she must be worried, maybe “dead anxious”… but why “stricken” ?
Because Lily is her mother too !
Harry’s words “You… You… You…” must have had a powerful impact on her ! Each of Harry’s “YOU” was like a slap in the face.

At the end of the book (chapter 22) in the train returning to London, talking about the Time Turner, Ron says to Hermione :
I still can’t believe you didn’t tell us about it… We’re supposed to be your friends.
Hermione answers :
“I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone.”
She looked around at Harry…
“Oh, cheer up Harry !” – said Hermione sadly.

(The words friends and anyone are emphasised in the book, strongly suggesting that someone present – Harry – is more than a friend to Hermione).
Quite clear isn’t it ? She is talking about secrets and about not telling, then immediately she looks around at Harry ! And she feels sad for him : if only she could tell him right now ! But no : she can’t. Harry has to go to those Dursleys…
Otherwise, why would Hermione speak “sadly” ? Not the best way to improve Harry’s spirits, is it ?

2.4.3 – A curious little detail.
In chapter 1, Hermione tells Harry in her letter :
I’m on holiday in France at the moment and I didn’t know how I was going to send this to you – what if they’s opened it at Customs ? – but then Hedwig turned up ! I think she wanted to make sure you got something for your birthday for a change.
So, Hedwig turned up ! Curious… Why did Hedwig take an initiative like this ? And why did she choose to go to Hermione ? I’m not saying Hedwig knows the truth… but these magical pets have a “sixth sense” of some sort…

2.4.4 – Why did JKR want Hermione to hide a big secret (the Time Turner) during all book 3 ? Was it to prepare the readers to the idea that keeping a secret is a very serious thing for Hermione ?
Does it mean we should expect a much bigger secret about her to be revealed in the end ?

Anyway, PoA proved that Hermione is able to keep a secret, even from her closest friends. And the fact a chapter was entitled “Hermione’s Secret” could be foreshadowing something.

2.4.5 – Some interesting symbols.

Chapter 17 (Cat, Rat and Dog) :
“Ron !” Hermione moaned.
She and Harry looked at each other, then followed at a sprint ; it was impossible to run full out under the Cloak ; they pulled it off and it streamed behind them like a banner as they hurtled after Ron...

JKR could simply have written : “they pulled it off and hurtled after Ron...” But she described the Cloak, “streaming behind them like a banner”.
“Like a banner”... A family banner, maybe ? The cloak was James’s ! So it is, in a way, the Potter banner.
It is important to remember that this scene happens on that particular night when the four Marauders are out in the Hogwarts grounds – James only symbolically so. Harry wondered :
Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs… Had all four of them been out in the grounds tonight ?
James Potter is dead. But his banner was “streaming behind” Harry and Hermione. James was symbolically present in his son… and daughter !

Another symbol, a bit later : when Harry creates his stag Patronus, Prongs symbolically comes back to save three people from the Dementors : Harry, Hermione and Sirius.
In a way, James Potter “comes back” for his son, his daughter and his best friend.

2.5 Clues from book 4

2.5.1 – Another interesting symbol. Chapter 13, Divination class :
“I’ve got two Neptunes here,” said Harry after a while, frowning down at his piece of parchment, “that can’t be right, can it ?”
Well… can it ? The interesting thing here is that Harry seems doubtful.
Ron immediately makes a joke about Harry’s birth, but it would be very much JKR’s style to hide an important clue by having someone make a joke about it. And Ron’s joke - “a sure sign a midget in glasses is being born” - emphasises that it is all about Harry’s birth, about his origins.
Neptune is associated with the subconscious, and hidden memory… Harry can have nothing more than a hidden, subconscious knowledge of Hermione’s true identity. “Two Neptunes” should represent duality : two children… as Harry knows, very deep in his subconscious.

2.5.2 – As said before, JKR likes to play with words and names. Here is a very nice little example. Something most readers won’t notice, or will just consider a little joke… Yet I think it is an extremely significant clue.
Chapter 23 : Krum is trying to pronounce Hermione’s name…
“Her-my-oh-nee”, she said, slowly and clearly.
“Close enough”, she said, catching Harry’s eye and grinning.

Would you really say that “Herm-own-ninny” was “close enough” ? Hmmmm… and Hermione “catches Harry’s eye” just at that moment.
“Ninny” is a joke, but it could mean she is “her-my-own-???” for Harry…
Furthermore, the “ninny” joke could refer to the “ninny sister syndrome” : in children literature, this is the tendency for girls to be – quite often – weak and clueless characters. It’s a joke here, of course, because Hermione is quite the opposite of a “ninny sister”. But it’s also a clue, because the words “ninny” and “sister” are connected.
Last point : the way Krum mispronounces Hermione’s name doesn’t seem plausible at all. A foreigner having difficulties with spoken English would not, I think, repeat the last syllable like that – the way “nee” becomes “ninny”. I would rather expect Krum to pronounce “HeRRR-mi-‘hn” or something like that… So, I think JKR had Krum pronounce the name that way in order to give us the clue.

2.5.3 – A major clue ! Hermione and Rita Skeeter.
Chapter 24 : at the Three Broomsticks pub, Rita Skeeter is trying to get one last interview from Harry. About Hagrid, she asks him :
Would you call him a father substitute ?
Hermione’s reaction is immediate and extremely violent ; she stands up
very abruptly, her Butterbeer clutched in her hand as though it was a grenade.
Why ? And why so abruptly (she was quiet seconds before) ? After all, these words were nothing worse than what Rita had been saying before. In fact, compared to Rita’s normal standards, this was almost nice ! And not completely wrong…
There is no indication in the book that Hermione was mad at Rita before that. Of course, she must have been angry after the article about Hagrid, but no more than Harry or Ron were. Nothing indicates she was angrier. Her personal crusade against Rita began at that precise moment : after Rita’s “father substitute” comment.

Hermione reacted “very abruptly” : this implies it was because of the last words Rita had pronounced. You don’t stand up “very abruptly” because of something that was said a minute ago, do you ?
So, obviously, it is the words “a father substitute” that triggered Hermione’s reaction.
Quite understandable if “mum and dad” are not her true parents.

Trying to analyse this scene a little further, I think Hermione was scared when Rita used this expression : “a father substitute”. She was afraid this could be an allusion. Afraid Rita might suspect something about her… After all, Rita’s mysterious ability to unveil secrets was a bit scary at that time. So, Hermione began her “anti-Rita crusade”. And what did she do ? She had no rest until she had found out how Rita could spy on people.
In her anger, Hermione shouted “she can’t scare me” : typical thing she would say if she was secretly scared, didn’t want to admit it and was furious because of it.

Note that after Rita’s article “Harry Potter’s Secret Heartache” (chapter 27), Hermione sounded much relieved :
If that’s the best Rita can do, she’s losing her touch…
Of course : only Hermione – and the few other people who know the secret – could understand how ridiculous this article was ! At least, it proved Rita hadn’t discovered anything important.

2.5.4 – Finally, there is Dumbledore’s “gleam of triumph”. JKR confirmed in July 2005 that this one is still “enormously significant”. I think it has everything to do with Hermione and with Harry’s protection. See the Protection Theory, part 4 below.

2.6 Clues from book 5

2.6.1 – Some more clues concerning Hermione’s behaviour with Harry.

Chapter 4 :
Hermione had thrown herself on to him in a hug that nearly knocked him flat…
“Let him breathe, Hermione”, said Ron…

Note that before Ron tells her to “let him breathe”, Hermione is making a fairly long speech… “I’ve looked it up, they can’t expel you, it’s just outrageous…” while still hugging Harry.

When Harry is yelling at her and Ron, Hermione is on the verge of tears.
But wait : why is Harry furious at that moment ? Because he has been kept in the dark for several weeks.
Hermione’s reaction thus makes a lot of sense if she is hiding a much bigger secret from Harry !

Now an important clue.
Chapter 9 : the Prefect’s badges have just arrived.
First part : She spotted the badge in Harry’s hand and let out a shriek.
“I knew it !” she said excitedly, brandishing her letter. “Me too, Harry, me too !”
“No,” said Harry quickly…

Second part : a bit later, Ron shows his mother his Prefect’s badge.
Mrs Weasley let out a shriek just like Hermione’s.
“I don’t believe it ! I don’t believe it ! Oh, Ron, how wonderful ! A prefect ! That’s everyone in the family !”
“What are Fred and I, next-door neighbours ?” said George indignantly…

See ? Why does JKR insist on the similarity here ?
“A shriek just like Hermione’s”.
Because it is for just the same reason ! Family pride !
“Me too, Harry, me too !” = “That’s everyone in the family !”

Later in the book, why is Hermione nagging Harry so badly about his Occlumency lessons ?
Is it because she is thinking :
“Come on, Harry ! If you mastered Occlumency, then maybe I’d be allowed to tell you !”
(See below : the reason why Harry mustn’t know the truth is his mind connection with Voldemort).

Hermione and Rita again, chapter 25 :
“It’s none of your business if Harry’s been with a hundred girls,” Hermione told Rita coolly.
(The word your is emphasised in the book).
It seems Hermione considers it’s Harry’s business… as well as hers ! Harry isn’t saying anything : she is speaking for him in that scene !

The way Hermione behaves with Harry and Cho is rather interesting. Chapter 26 :
“You should have said it was really annoying…
And it might have been a good idea to mention how ugly you think I am too,” Hermione added as an afterthought.
“But I don’t think you’re ugly,” said Harry, bemused.

Harry had just told her how Cho had got jealous… jealous of her !
1- If she was just a friend for Harry, even a very close friend… well, she would have been at least slightly embarrassed, wouldn’t she ?
2- If she secretly had romantic feelings for Harry, then she should have been very embarrassed.
3- But her reaction was exactly what Harry’s secret sister would have done !

Finally, it becomes clear in OotP that Hermione spends very little time with her “parents”. First, she spends most of July cleaning Sirius’s house with Ron and the Weasleys. If she saw “mum and dad” that summer, it’s at most for a week or so. Then, she doesn't go home for the holidays. She blows off the ski trip her parents had planned. She says, “they'll understand”. Will they ? Will it be because a friend’s father was nearly killed, or because she knows and they know that they are not her biological parents ?
And when she finally meets them again after all that time (chapter 38 ), she hugs them quickly, then :
Hermione disengaged herself gently from her mother to join the group.
This is the group of people who are talking to the Dursleys, to make sure they treat Harry well that summer. Note that Hermione is the only student who joins the group – we aren’t told Ron does the same – all the others are adults.

2.6.2 – OotP gave us a few more “McGonagall clues”.

Chapter 12, an important clue : even if it doesn’t directly point to the sibling theory, it certainly proves there is something strange going on with Hermione.
Pr. McGonagall has just told Harry he needs to be careful with Dolores Umbridge. And she adds :
“Well, I’m glad you listen to Hermione Granger at any rate,” she said, pointing him out of her office.
This sentence is greatly emphasized by the fact it is the end of the chapter.
Quite strange, isn’t it ? How can McGonagall know what Hermione had been telling Harry ? She wasn’t anywhere near them when Hermione explained the meaning of Umbridge’s speech.
This strengthens the idea that Hermione is, in some way, “protecting” Harry – and that she is reporting to McGonagall.

Chapter 19. McGonagall is punishing Harry and George :
“Now, you two had better listen closely. I do not care what provocation Malfoy offered you, I do not care if he insulted every family member you possess, your behaviour was disgusting…”
“Every family member you possess” !
Strange expression to use when talking to Harry Potter, who has no proper family as everyone knows… George had just told her that Malfoy had insulted Harry’s mother : why does McGonagall generalise like this ? “Every family member you possess”… what family members does Harry “possess” then ?
But wait… Who is the character Draco Malfoy has insulted most in the story ? Who is the character he keeps calling “a Mudblood” ?
Hermione !
McGonagall was so upset in this scene that she let slip out something !

2.6.3 – Another clue indicating that something is going on with Hermione…
Chapter 23, Harry is feeling really bad. He is hiding alone in Buckbeak’s room.
Then Hermione arrives. She was supposed to be skiing with “mum and dad” for Christmas, but she comes to Grimmauld Place instead. Just when Harry really needs her !
It is her who manages to get Harry out of that room. Couldn’t JKR have had Sirius do it ? Or Mrs Weasley ? Or Ron ? Or Ginny ? Someone who was already there ? Why did it have to be Hermione ?
Now, here is the really strange thing : Hermione went directly to the door of that room where Harry was hiding (there was still snow in her hair). But Harry was hiding ! The Weasleys and Sirius couldn’t know exactly where he was ! He had “retreated further upstairs” when Mrs Weasley had called his name earlier.
So, how could Hermione know Harry was in that room ?
Here is the answer I propose : Dumbledore must have told her. It must be him who sent Hermione to Grimmauld Place, because of Harry : “Your brother needs you now, Miss Granger. I’m really sorry for your ski trip”.
(Dumbledore could know exactly where Harry was through Phineas Nigellus).

2.6.4 – The “Hagrid clues”.
In OotP, the truth about Hagrid’s secret sibling is revealed… I think the analogy with Harry is a very important clue.

Chapter 25, Hagrid tells Harry they are very much alike :
“In the same boat, yeh an’ me, aren’ we, ‘Arry ?”
“Er –“ said Harry.
“Yeah… I’ve said it before… both outsiders, like”, said Hagrid, nodding wisely. “An’ both orphans. Yeah… both orphans”…
“Family,” said Hagrid gloomily. “Whatever yeh say, blood’s important…”

In chapter 30, we understand – at long last – what Hagrid meant : his giant brother Grawp.
So, “ In the same boat, yeh an’ me, aren’ we, ‘Arry ?” must be a foreshadowing : in the end, Harry will find his lost sibling too !
And note that the entire “Grawp” story is between Hagrid, Harry and Hermione. Ron takes no part in it… It’s all about lost relatives !

Later (chapter 30), Hagrid tells them (Harry and Hermione) about Grawp :
“Hermione, I couldn’ leave him,” said Hagrid, tears now trickling down his bruised face into his beard. “See - he’s my brother !”
Hermione simply stared at him, her mouth open.
“Hagrid, when you say “brother”,” said Harry slowly, “do you mean - ?”
“Well - half-brother,” amended Hagrid.

The interesting thing here is that Harry is still able to think logically - Grawp can’t be Hagrid’s father’s son - while Hermione is stunned. This is quite unusual : normally, cold logic is rather Hermione’s thing.
But here, she is unable to speak… Of course ! A lost brother… this means so much for her !

A scene I think may have a symbolic meaning.
Hagrid said that “blood is important”. And Hermione was stunned when Hagrid revealed “he (Grawp) is my brother”.
Right. So, I would say that Grawp's importance in the story is to symbolise the importance of the bond of blood. Think of all Hagrid did for Grawp, of all he suffered for him !
Grawp’s blood should thus have a symbolic meaning in the story : it symbolises the strength of the bond of blood.
Now, here is the scene I have in mind : when Harry and Hermione escape the centaurs, when Ron, Ginny, Luna and Neville find them, they are both drenched in Grawp’s blood !

2.6.5 – JKR likes to play with words…
Chapter 27 : Hermione’s Patronus is an otter.
Patronus otter… P/otter…
Note that in chapter 9, Lucius Malfoy had called Harry “Patronus Potter”.
JKR will insist on this nice little clue in HBP, when Slughorn calls Harry “Parry Otter”.

2.6.6 – Now, a clue I consider one of the strongest in the entire series.
OotP, chapter 31 (OWLs) :
“I mistranslated ehwaz,” said Hermione furiously. “It means partnership, not defence ; I mixed it up with eihwaz.”

Here is the meaning of these two runes :
1- “Ehwaz” : symbol shaped like a “M”.
Partnership, Harmony, Duality, Horse (or two horses), Ideal marriage or partnership…
“Ehwaz is the rune associated with twin gods, heroes or horses.”
It is the rune associated with the deities Frey and Freyja (twin brother and sister).
And, “it also represents partnership, trust, loyalty, and faithfulness, such as that between horse and rider, brother and sister, two halves of the whole”.
2- “Eihwaz” : symbol shaped vaguely like a lightning bolt.
Yew tree, Strength, Endurance, Defence, Protection.
And : “It contains the mystery of life and death. It is a life giving force which has its roots in the underworld and death.”

These runes can have several different meanings, but as Hermione herself said “partnership” and “defence”, I think it is safe to consider these are the relevant meanings here. Partnership, duality, harmony for Ehwaz (rather than “horse” for instance), and defence, protection for Eihwaz (rather than the “axis of the world”, which is another possible meaning).

This clue strongly supports the “Protection Theory” : Hermione has a key role in Harry's protection, a bit like Petunia – as we know Lily’s blood is Harry’s protection.
Hermione must translate Ehwaz, which can mean partnership (such as that between brother and sister) and “twin heroes”... so obviously she thinks of her brother Harry, and she mixes it up with Eihwaz. Why ? Maybe because the Eihwaz rune looks a bit like Harry's scar, but mostly because it represents “protection” : her task is to protect her brother.

To sum up :
Ehwaz : partnership, duality between brother and sister.
Eihwaz : “a life giving force which has its roots in the underworld and death”. The protection force Hermione is carrying does have its roots in death (Lily’s sacrifice).

Think about it… This clue is particularly striking. Hermione mixes up ehwaz and eihwaz. Ehwaz is partnership, duality, such as that between brother and sister. Eihwaz is defence, protection.
Now answer this : what is Harry’s protection, Harry’s defence in the story ?
Dumbledore answered this question in OotP ; it is the bond of blood :
Your mother’s sacrifice made the bond of blood the strongest shield I could give you.
Everything fits : the bond of blood, a partnership, a duality (ehwaz) is Harry’s shield, his defence (eihwaz). All this concerns Hermione (she is the one who mixes up the runes) : she and Harry must be linked by “the bond of blood”.

2.6.7 – In chapter 37, Dumbledore tells Harry :
“I guessed, fifteen years ago,” said Dumbledore, “when I saw the scar on your forehead, what it might mean. I guessed that it might be the sign of a connection forged between you and Voldemort.”
OK, we know Dumbledore is very smart... But the question is : why did JKR want him to guess as early as that ? It would have been simpler to have Dumbledore understand that this connection existed during Harry's 4th year (when Harry began having dreams). Why make him guess when Harry was a baby ? How did this influence the plot ?
Easy : This is the reason why the truth about Hermione was kept hidden from Harry ! (See below : the reason why Harry mustn’t know the truth is his mind connection with Voldemort).
If Dumbledore had guessed about the connection no earlier than GoF, then the Secret would have been revealed to both Harry and Hermione. So, there would have been no “Big Secret” for Harry... and for the readers !
In GoF, Dumbledore would have understood that telling Harry was a huge blunder... but it would have been too late !
For the plot to work, Dumbledore had to understand very early that this connection existed.

2.7 Clues from book 6

2.7.1 – HBP gave us a number of new clues concerning Hermione’s behaviour and her reactions.

When Hermione first meets Harry again at the Burrow, Harry is surprised by the way she is looking at him :
“Something wrong, Hermione ?”
“She was watching him as though expecting strange symptoms to manifest themselves at any moment.”

Sure, Hermione and Ron are both worried by what Dumbledore might have told Harry – that is, the Prophecy. However, Hermione’s reaction is much stronger than Ron’s here. Why ?
With the Sibling Theory, this makes perfect sense : Hermione can’t know what Dumbledore might have told Harry… What if he had told him literally everything ? Everything about her… Last time Harry had been kept in the dark, a year before, he had gone mad at Ron and her. No wonder Hermione was expecting “strange symptoms” this time !

A bit later in chapter 5, the trio are discussing Tonks and the reason why she is so depressed. Hermione has an idea :
She still hasn’t got over what happened… you know… I mean, he was her cousin !
And then she adds :
She thinks it was her fault he died !
This is a bit strange, because Hermione is completely wrong here. We learn later in the book the true reason why Tonks was depressed, and this reason has nothing to do with Sirius.
Hermione is the one who is supposed to be “good at psychology” in the trio. Why does she jump to that wrong conclusion ?
I think the answer is quite simple. Hermione remembers that Tonks and Sirius are linked by the bond of blood. The idea of a girl blaming herself for the death of a blood-relative means A LOT to Hermione !
Hermione is not often wrong in the story, and her mistakes are thus of great interest (example : the runes). What Hermione said in that scene didn't reveal much about Tonks... but I think it revealed a lot about Hermione herself and her deepest fears !

A few things Hermione tells Harry are of great interest for the theory. At times, this will cause some jealousy from Ron – the poor boy cannot understand, as he doesn’t know the truth.
For instance, when Hermione tells Harry :
It’s not Quidditch that’s popular, it’s you ! You’ve never been more interesting and, frankly, you’ve never been more fanciable.
No wonder Ron “gagged on a large piece of kipper” at that precise moment : when a girl tells a boy he has “never been more fanciable”, what is that supposed to mean ? A close relative could say it in a completely innocent way. Otherwise…

A bit later, Hermione overreacts when Slughorn reveals that Harry had called her “the best in our year” :
Did you really tell him I’m the best in the year ? Oh, Harry !
This makes sense considering Hermione’s psychology, if she is Harry’s sister : having to keep up with her “boy who lived” of a brother, etc…
And again, Ron is “annoyed” by Hermione’s reaction…

Note that throughout the book, Hermione is jealous of the so-called Half-Blood Prince, jealous of his influence on Harry. She hates it when Harry follows the Prince’s advice rather than hers !

In the end, Ginny reveals it was Hermione who had given her some advice (very good advice, by the way) about the best attitude to adopt so that Harry would eventually notice her :
“Hermione told me to get on with life, maybe go out with some other people, relax a bit around you, because I never used to be able to talk if you were in the room, remember ? And she thought you might take a bit more notice if I was a bit more – myself.”
“Smart girl, that Hermione,” said Harry, trying to smile.

Well, it is clearer than ever that Hermione has been interfering quite a lot in Harry’s love life.

Finally, note that when Harry and Hermione both need partners to go to Slughorn’s party, they do not consider going together. Why ? Why don’t they even consider the idea ?
Is it because they are both members of the “Slug Club” ? No : two members can go together – Hermione will go with Cormac.
Is it because they are “just friends” ? No : it is possible to go as “just friends” – Harry will go with Luna.
I think there must be a deeper reason here…

2.7.2 – A scene I think has a strong symbolic meaning.
Chapter 5 : Harry has just told Ron and Hermione about the Prophecy. This is a moment of extreme dramatic intensity, a moment Harry – and the readers – had been anticipating. Harry is waiting for their reaction and… Hermione gets punched in the eye by Fred’s and George’s telescope !
A comical scene in such a dramatic moment !
I think Hermione’s black eye can be seen as a symbol : it symbolises how much stricken she was by the news…

2.7.3 – Just in case some readers had not noticed the “ehwaz/eihwaz” clue in OotP, we are reminded that Hermione did “at least one serious mistranslation” in Ancient Runes.

2.7.4 – An important clue, that strengthens the “Hermione’s Patronus” clue in OotP greatly.
Chapter 22, Slughorn (drunk) mispronounces Harry’s name :
“Yes, indeed,” cried Slughorn a little thickly, “Parry Otter, the Chosen Boy Who – well – something of that sort,” he mumbled, and drained his mug, too.
An otter is Hermione’s Patronus… Coincidence ? I don’t think so : JKR is playing with words here. Even the verb “to parry” can be associated with the Patronus – after all, this is exactly what a Patronus does : “to parry” a Dementor’s attack !
Compare this with another mispronunciation : In the same scene, Hagrid (also drunk) switches letters between two words :
“… bes’ wiz and witchard o’ their age I never knew… terrible thing… terrible thing…”
So, Slughorn should rather have pronounced “Parry Hotter”… The word “Otter” is a clue.

2.7.5 – Amycus and Alecto are referred to as “brother and sister” rather than by their names a number of times. Rather unusual…

2.7.6 – In the end, Dumbledore offers Draco to hide him so completely that Voldemort will never be able to find him :
Come over to the right side Draco, and we can hide you more completely than you can possibly imagine.
Dumbledore is very sure he can do it, in that scene, isn’t he ? “More completely than you can possibly imagine” is a very strong statement indeed !
This sounds like something Dumbledore and/or the Order have already tried – successfully – in the past, doesn’t it ?
Why did JKR include that proposal in book 6 ? What’s its importance in the plot ? What did it change ? The Order did not hide Draco in HBP… I think this was included as a hint : Dumbledore and/or the Order are able to hide people very effectively when needed. More completely, maybe, than we can (yet) possibly imagine !

2.8 The movies

The movies cannot be an important nor a very reliable source of clues, as they are not directly JKR’s creation. However, we can assume that JKR gave some advice here and there…

2.8.1 – Remember the “Trevor clue” in book 1. The funny thing is that in the movie, we don’t see Neville looking for Trevor, but the scene where Trevor finally reappears was kept. However, from the book to the movie, the place where Neville finds the toad was changed. In the movie, it’s in the castle, during McGonagall’s speech… and just in front of Hermione !

2.8.2 – A little scene of some interest for the theory in the first movie : the trio are climbing the stairs, and Ron says to Harry :
It’s spooky : she knows more about you than you do.
Harry answers :
Who doesn’t ?
Who doesn’t ? Many people… If Ron, who comes from an old wizarding family, finds it “spooky” then it means Hermione knows considerably more about Harry than other people do – much more than Ron does. Not bad for a girl who is supposed to have been knowing she is a witch for only a few weeks ! But if Harry is her brother, and if she knows the truth, this is perfectly normal !

2.8.3 – Overall, the movies confirm the impression of a special, yet non-romantic, relationship between Harry and Hermione.

For instance, in movie 3, the scene after Harry has just learned the “truth” about Sirius Black :
He was their friend… and he betrayed them… HE WAS THEIR FRIEND !
It is Hermione who walks to Harry alone (Ron tries to hold her back, then he stays at a distance), she removes the invisibility cloak from him and she asks him what happened.
I think this scene is important, because it is all about the Potter family (James, Lily, and Sirius who betrayed them – or so they believe at that moment), and it is all between Harry and Hermione.

2.8.4 –JKR said that in movie 3, Cuaron “inadvertently foreshadowed events that will happen in books six and seven”.
I really got goose bumps when I saw a couple of those things, and I thought, people are going to look back on the film and think that those were put in deliberately as clues.
It could very well be the Harry-Hermione interaction (see above).
But also the remarkable parallel between James and Lily on the one hand and Harry and Hermione on the other hand. The parents and the children…
Both Remus and Sirius seem to be drawing that subtle parallel - even if they don’t say it explicitly. Harry is a lot like James, Hermione is a lot like Lily :
1- On the bridge, Lupin tells Harry that he is much like his father and that his mother was a powerful witch but also a very good person : “Not only was she a singularly gifted witch, but she was also an uncommonly kind woman. She had the ability to see the beauty in others, and perhaps most especially of all, when that person couldn't see it in themselves.”
Well, Hermione is a lot like Lily, isn’t she ? No doubt she is a “singularly gifted witch”, and in GoF, she is the one who comforts Hagrid when he can no longer see “the beauty in himself” (after Rita Skeeter’s article) :
“Did you by any chance hear what Miss Granger was shouting, Hagrid ?”
2- In the end, Sirius repeats that Harry is very much like James. Then he tells Hermione: “You really are the cleverest witch of your generation”.
Why this sentence ? Does Hermione vaguely remind him of Lily ? Anyway, it certainly strengthens the parallel.

2.9 Clues from J.K. Rowling’s interviews

- Important clue. During a chat (AOL chat, 04/2000) JKR was asked about a possible Harry-Hermione romance in the future books. She answered :
…as for Harry and Hermione, d’you really think they’re suited ?
Did JKR let slip something big here ? What did these words mean ?
1- Most R/Hr shippers would answer this just means they are not suited. But why ? They get along very well, after all… And if it was so simple, why would JKR have given away that much ? In 2000, she was rather reluctant to give away too much on these matters.
2- For H/Hr shippers, JKR made an ambiguous answer and no conclusion is possible… Maybe the answer was a humorous one…. “well, yes they are !” However, this would be very misleading !
3- The Sibling Theory fits perfectly here :
“…as for Harry and Hermione, d’you really think they’re suited ? Wait till you know who they really are !”
The answer is not misleading… yet JKR isn’t giving away the main piece of information ! Brilliant !

- Something else JKR said (NPC, 10/1999), another important clue :
JKR: *looking through questions* No, don’t like that one. Oh, I like this one… do Harry and Hermione have a date? *laughter* No. They are – they’re very platonic friends. But I won’t answer for anyone else, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
Again, the Sibling Theory fits perfectly… JKR said it herself : “wink, wink.”
And note that she chose that particular question from a list (ignoring other questions). This suggests there is more to this. There must be something ! Something she is NOT telling us here, and is enjoying not to tell us ! (Hence her laughter).
Note the hesitation : “They are – they’re very platonic friends.”
Also, why did JKR say “very platonic friends” ? Why insist that much ? Wasn’t “platonic friends” good enough ? Is it because the mere suggestion of a non-platonic relation between Harry and Hermione was unacceptable for JKR ? Because such a relation would be incestuous, and thus inappropriate in the story ?

- Yet another quote (06/2000) :
She is the most brilliant of the three and they need her. Harry needs her badly.
What does Harry need badly ?
Do you remember his vision in the Mirror of Erised ? His “heart’s greatest desire” ?
It was… family !
So… of course he needs Hermione badly !

- JKR once said Hermione’s name is based on Shakespeare.
The Hermione in “The Winter’s Tale” went into hiding for 16 years. If the truth about Harry’s sister is revealed before the end, that’s about the time she will have been “hiding”.

- One of the major clues for the theory : during the BBC TV show “Harry and Me”, JKR showed a few items to the camera. These included a school-list. You can have a look at the pictures here :
JKR changed Hermione’s name : she had originally named her Hermione Puckle. She changed the name to Granger later : in the list, the name “Puckle” is crossed out and replaced by “Granger”.
(JKR confirmed this on her website later).
This implies that :
1 - Harry and Hermione are together in this alphabetical list, as all other siblings are (the Patil sisters for instance).
2 - When JKR first created Hermione, she gave her the initials “H.P.”
She changed it later, probably because it would give away too much !
And this clue has become even stronger – much stronger – since JKR revealed (March 2004 chat) that Hermione’s middle name is Jane.
H.J.P. ! Harry James Potter… Hermione Jane Puckle.
Coincidence ?
Honestly, do you believe in such coincidences ?

- During an interview in October 2000, JKR said :
Q. Why not then a heroine? Why isn't this Helene Potter?
JKR. Very good question. I was-- this is weird-- I was writing the books for six months, before I stopped and thought: Well, he's a boy. How did that happen? Why is he a boy? Why isn't it Harriet? And number one, it was too late. Harry was too real by then for me to try to put him in a dress. That wasn't going to work. And then there was Hermione-- and Hermione is an indispensable part of the books and how the adventures happen. And she so much me that I felt no guilt about keeping the hero who had walked into my head. You know, it was uncontrived. It wasn't conscious. That's how he happened. So I kept him that way.

So, Hermione is “an indispensable part of how the adventures happen”…
Interesting, isn’t it ? JKR makes it sound like Hermione is the heroine, almost on par with Harry. Like her role in the overall plot is almost as important as Harry’s.
Note that elsewhere in the same interview, JKR calls Ron “Harry’s other best friend”. Other best friend…

- The following interview is the only time – that I am aware of – JKR was asked about giving Harry a sibling. The highly significant thing is that… she did not answer !
The San Francisco Chronicle, October 30, 1999 :
Q: Could you write a book where Harry has a twin sister Harrietta? Will you write a book where a girl is the main character? -- Jessica, age 12
A: I had been writing about Harry for six months before I stopped and asked myself why I was writing about Harry and not Harriet. And by then it was too late. He felt like a boy to me, I liked him as a boy, and I didn't want to have to put him in a dress and girl him up. Hermione is a very, very strong character. She's a caricature of me when I was younger.

As you see, JKR answered the second part of the question (about a girl being the main character) but not the first one (about Harry having a sister).

- JK Rowling's interview with Katie Couric, June 20th 2003 :
Couric: Any snogging with Hermione?
Rowling: Hermione and Harry?! Do you think so?
Couric: No I’m kidding.
Rowling: Ron and Hermione, I would say, have more tension there...

One more interview that can support the Sibling Theory.
You can have a look at JKR’s facial expression when she says “Hermione and Harry?! Do you think so?”, here :
Look at her eyes at that precise moment – the way she is looking at Couric, this expression of sudden interest in her eyes when she says “Hermione and Harry?! Do you think so?” She is obviously fighting back a smile… Then, when she says “Ron and Hermione...”, her expression is quite neutral again.

- March 4th, 2004 Chat :
Jami: Is Harry related to Godric Gryffindor?
JK Rowling replies : People are always wondering who Harry might be related to. Maybe he is. Wink

JKR could have simply answered : yes he is / no he isn't / maybe he is / you'll see / what makes you think so / do you really think I would tell you...
But the interesting thing is that she widens the question :
“People are always wondering who Harry might be related to.”
So “maybe he is”... related to someone else !
Since the July 2005 TLC-Mugglenet interview, it seems that Harry is NOT the heir of Gryffindor, after all :
MA : That sort of shuts down Heir of Gryffindor (theories) as well.
JKR : (Pause) Yeah. Well – yeah.

But it also seems that the March 2004 question about Harry being related to Gryffindor had aroused something else in JKR’s mind...

2.10 J.K. Rowling’s Website
A number of things on JKR’s website are of great interest for the Sibling Theory.

- JKR confirms on her site that she had originally named Hermione “Puckle” (see above). There’s no doubt about this, no more room for interpretation : JKR created Hermione Puckle, and changed the name to Granger later.
So... Harry James Potter and Hermione Jane Puckle originally had exactly the same initials : H.J.P.

Side note : this clue is really important, first because it is a bit too much for a coincidence, and second because JKR doesn’t choose names at random for siblings in the story.
Many siblings have the same initials : Albus and Aberforth, Parvati and Padma, Rodulphus and Rastaban, Amycus and Alecto…
And many more have first names beginning by consecutive letters : Fred and George, Regulus and Sirius, Colin and Dennis, Fabian and Gideon, Fleur and Gabrielle…

- Another important clue. In a very early draft of PS, a connection existed between the Potters and the Grangers, as the Potters lived not far from the Grangers (JKR moved them to Godric's Hollow later) :
The very, very earliest drafts of the first chapter of 'Philosopher's Stone' have the Potters living on a remote island, Hermione's family living on the mainland, her father spotting something that resembles an explosion out at sea and sailing out in a storm to find their bodies in the ruins of their house. I can't remember now why I thought this was a good idea, but I clearly recognised that it wasn't fairly early on, because the Potters were re-located to Godric's Hollow for all subsequent drafts.
It is easy to imagine that – in this early version – Mr Granger found Hermione in the ruins… and adopted her ! Or, if Hermione had already left to the Grangers before the tragedy, maybe the Potters didn’t want their daughter too far away in this first draft of the book…
Anyway, the existence of a connection in this early version of PS certainly helps support the Sibling Theory.
Some people could say that this early version was discarded, so it is now unimportant. This would be a big mistake ! There is a lot to learn from such early versions, especially early versions of book 1 chapter 1. JKR said :
Discarded first chapters of book one: I reckon I must've got through fifteen different alternative chapters of book one. The reason for which I discarded each of them were: They all gave too much away. And in fact if you put all those discarded first chapters together, almost the whole plot is explained.
In both quotes, JKR is talking about early drafts of book 1 chapter 1 : when you put the two quotes together, you really get a strong feeling there is something there !

- JKR reveals that “Potter” is the name of two friends of hers when she was a little girl : a brother and sister !

- JKR reveals that, while everyone believes Dean Thomas is Muggleborn, he is - in fact - a half-blood.
A half-blood whom everyone believes is Muggleborn... Maybe he is not the only one !

- JKR writes :
Does Hermione love Ron or Harry?
I can't believe that some of you haven't worked this one out yet, but I'm not going to answer because that would spoil the arguments, which I enjoy.

Sure she must have enjoyed the arguments ! So many fans were busy discussing H/Hr versus R/Hr… not seeing the main thing !

- JKR refutes a theory :
Luna is Snape’s daughter.
This is a most tantalising idea, but no, Mr. Lovegood, the editor of “the Quibbler”, really is Luna’s father and Snape does not have a daughter.

First point, JKR calls “most tantalising” a theory suggesting that a girl in the story is not really her parents’ daughter… The Snape-Luna theory is false, but this could suggest that another character was secretly adopted. Not Snape’s daughter, but the daughter of another member – or two other members – of the Order of the Phoenix.
Second point, I wonder why JKR added “and Snape does not have a daughter”. After saying that Mr Lovegood really was Luna’s father, the question was answered, wasn’t it ?
There might be more to this… It could mean that Snape has a son (I doubt it), or… Well, many people believe Snape might have loved Lily. This is not the place to discuss this theory – although I think there are some good arguments for it – but it could fit : Snape does not have a daughter, the woman he loved HAD a daughter, but he wasn’t the father…

2.11 The “Heart of it all”

Here is what JKR said on June 19th, 2003 (just before the release of OotP) :
JP: So there will be some pairing up will there in this book?
JKR: Well in the fullness of time.
JP: Unlikely pairings? Not Hermione and Draco Malfoy or anything like that?
JKR: I don’t really want to say as it will ruin all the fan sites. They have such fun with their theories … and it is fun, it is fun. And some of them even get quite close. No-one has ever - I have gone and looked at some of it and no-one’s ever … There is one thing that if anyone guessed I would be really annoyed as it is kind of the heart of it all. And it kind of explains everything and no-one’s quite got there but a couple of people have skirted it. So you know, I would be pretty miffed after thirteen or fourteen years of writing the books if someone just came along and said I think this will happen in book seven. Because it is too late, I couldn’t divert now, everything has been building up to it, and I’ve laid all my clues.

So, we know there is a Big Secret in the story ! The “heart of it all” ! And it is something that should affect character “shipping” somehow (as the question was about shipping).
The Sibling Theory fits perfectly : it does affect shipping of course (as it makes one of the most popular ships impossible), and it can certainly be “the heart of it all”, the secret that “kind of explains everything” (especially if Hermione is the key to Harry’s protection – see the Protection Theory below). And many, many clues have been “building up to it”.

In July 2005, JKR made some more comments about a “big revelation” to come in book 7 – I presume she was talking about the same big secret as above :
MA : Does the gleam of triumph still have yet to make an appearance ?
JKR : That’s still enormously significant. And let’s face it, I haven’t told you that much is enormously significant, so you can let your imaginations run free here.
ES : I think everybody realized it was significant when they read it but we didn’t see it materialize in 5 or 6.
JKR : Well, it still is.
ES : We’ve been kind of waiting for the big revelation.
JKR : Absolutely, that’s for seven. That’s for seven.

Here again, the sibling theory fits. I will explain in part 4 below (the Protection Theory) why Dumbledore’s gleam of triumph could have everything to do with Hermione’s secret.

Many other ideas have been proposed for the “heart of it all”, but I’ve never seen one that really fits, apart from the Sibling Theory.
For instance :
1- The “heart of it all” are Voldemort’s Horcruxes.
No. The Horcruxes are a vital element of the plot, but JKR said “if someone just came along and said I think this will happen in book seven”.
And she added : “Absolutely, that’s for seven. That’s for seven.”
We learnt Voldemort had made Horcruxes in book six, not seven.
2- The “heart of it all” is the fact Snape was in love with Lily (or vice versa).
Maybe he was, but I don’t see what Dumbledore’s gleam of triumph could have to do with this.
3- The “heart of it all” is a secret concerning the connection between Harry and Voldemort – the true nature of this connection, whatever it is.
No doubt this is extremely important : JKR herself said it was. But I don’t really understand why JKR would have mentioned this when answering a “shipping” question – J. Paxman’s question about Draco and Hermione.


I now want to discuss the theory, and its role in the story : how it could fit in the overall plot.
We’ve seen a number of clues that, when put together, strongly support the idea of a Harry-Hermione sibling relation. Now, I want to try and answer some questions, some “when”, “why” and “how” questions : when was Hermione hidden, and why ? Why doesn’t anyone tell Harry ? And most importantly : what will it change ? A secret of that importance must be the key to something huge, possibly the key to the final outcome of the series.
Simply having Hermione tell Harry, in the end, “er… by the way, Harry, I am your sister…” would be unacceptable. The big secret must – as JKR herself said – “kind of explain everything”.

Now… Is it even possible to answer these questions before we have the last book in our hands ?
I think we can try. Of course, JKR will write the seventh book, and she will most probably surprise us all. I mean, even if the base idea of the Sibling Theory is correct, the possibilities are many. But still, we can try to answer some questions : there are clues in the first six books. For instance, I think there are strong reasons to believe Hermione has a role in Harry’s protection.

Still, this part of the essay is necessarily speculative. I’ll try to base the speculations on the books themselves, or on things revealed by JKR, as much as possible. But even if the Sibling Theory itself is correct, some of the ideas I am now going to present may very well turn out wrong.

I’ll begin with some timeline questions, as I think it is important to clarify these points before we can go further. Then, we’ll see how it could all work. The Protection Theory will be discussed in detail in part 4 below.

3.1 How old is Hermione ?

We know Harry’s birthday is July 31st. Hermione’s is September 19th.
How old is Hermione ? Is she younger than Harry or older than him ?
This was a highly debated point before JKR gave us the final answer, late 2004.
Before that, a majority of fans assumed she was younger.
Late 2004, JKR revealed on her website that Hermione was nearly twelve when she entered Hogwarts, so we know she is about 10 months and a half older than Harry.

She can definitely be his older sister : the delay between Hermione’s birth and Harry’s conception is short, but it is possible. Especially if Harry was born a bit premature, but it is possible even if he wasn’t.
One could even say that the fact JKR gave them birthdays making it just possible for them to be siblings (and still be in the same year at Hogwarts) is not a coincidence.
Furthermore, in HBP, Molly Weasley said something highly significant ; something that could very well explain why the Potters had two children that close :
It’s all this uncertainty with You-Know-Who coming back, people think they might be dead tomorrow, so they’re rushing all sorts of decisions they’d normally take time over. It was the same last time he was powerful, people eloping left right and centre –

Before JKR revealed Hermione’s age, we had several variants of the Sibling Theory. The “older sister theory” of course, but also a “twin theory” (Hermione’s official birthday would have been changed in order to hide her even more effectively).
Now, I think Hermione is Harry’s older sister.
Other variants of the theory would involve Time Magic of some sort, which is not impossible, but seems unlikely…

3.2 Timeline : when was the Prophecy made ?

So, Harry was born on July 31st, and Hermione was born on September 19th the year before.
Now, before we turn our attention to the reason why Hermione was hidden, we must try to figure out when the Prophecy was made. Was it made before or after Hermione’s birth ?

It seems very likely that Trelawney made her Prophecy a few weeks or months before Harry’s birth, and well after Hermione’s birth.

Dumbledore told Harry :
“Voldemort tried to kill you when you were a child because of a prophecy made shortly before your birth.”
And about the circumstances, he explained :
“On a cold, wet night sixteen years ago…”

“Shortly before your birth” should mean it wasn’t many months before… Yet, “shortly” is not a very precise indication… I don’t think Dumbledore would have said “shortly” for “nearly a year”, though.
“Sixteen years ago” could mean just 16 years, although technically it could mean anything between 16 years and 17 years minus 1 day.
“A cold, wet night” might suggest winter, but even summer nights can be cold and wet in Scotland. Furthermore, we saw in HBP that when Voldemort is powerful, his Dementors can cause cold and wet weather even in July !

One thing is sure : the Prophecy was made before Trelawney started teaching.
In OotP, during her inspection, Trelawney told Umbridge she had been teaching for “nearly sixteen years”.
When Umbridge sacked her, she said : “I’ve b – been here sixteen years !”

“Nearly sixteen years” is not a very precise indication either… But it could fit : if the Prophecy was made a short time before Harry’s birth, then it meant “a little more than 15 years”.

So, the Prophecy was probably made after Hermione’s birth. Which means the reason why Hermione was hidden must be searched elsewhere.

However, I think this is not an absolute certitude. If the Prophecy was made before Hermione’s birth, but less than 17 years before the night Sirius died – for instance if it was made in August or early September before Hermione’s birth – then Dumbledore’s sentence ( “16 years ago” ) can still be true.
In that case, it is not impossible that some people (Dumbledore ? James ? Lily ? ) thought Hermione could be “the one” and decided to hide her. After all, September is “the seventh month” in the roman calendar. This wouldn’t necessarily mean that Hermione really is “the one”, only that someone believed it at that time.

This is not what I believe. I think the Prophecy was made months after Hermione was born, and this is what I will assume henceforward. But I cannot discard the other possibility completely.

3.3 When was Hermione hidden ?

First point : I think it is quite clear that if Hermione is James’s and Lily’s daughter, then she was actually hidden in some way.
For instance, part of book 1 chapter 1 is written with a focus on Vernon’s point of view. Thus, it is an established fact that, at this point of the story :
- Vernon knew about Harry’s existence, even though he had never seen the boy.
- Vernon knew nothing about Harry’s sister.
So, Hermione must have been, in a way, more hidden than Harry.

The only alternative would be a massive use of memory charms. Hermione would not have been hidden from the start, but all memory of her true identity would have been erased by magic at some point (necessarily before the “Vernon” scene in book 1 chapter 1). This is not what I personally believe, but I will say a few words about this variant of the theory in appendix 1.

Before we discuss the reason why Hermione was hidden, let’s have another look at the timeline. When was she hidden ? When did she go to the Grangers ?
I think Hermione’s existence was hidden from the start. Lily’s pregnancy was kept secret.
But did the Potters send Hermione to the Grangers at birth – or soon after birth – or did she stay with them for some months ?

Until very recently, I leaned towards the idea that Hermione was still with them – her existence well hidden, but still present at Godric’s Hollow – the night the Potters were killed ! This would have accounted for JKR’s reluctance to tell us who was present :
MA : Was there anyone else present in Godric’s Hollow the night Harry’s parents were killed ?
JKR : No comment.

But this no longer seems possible. JKR wrote on her website in February 2006 :
Even if one of the Potters had been captured, force fed Veritaserum or placed under the Imperius Curse, they would not have been able to give away the whereabouts of the other two.
This expression “the other two” implies there wasn’t another Potter at Godric’s Hollow. If Hermione is Harry’s sister, she was no longer there. She was not concerned by that particular Fidelius Charm.

So, the conclusion must be that Hermione was hidden much earlier than that. I think we have two possibilities :

- She was hidden at birth, or very soon after birth. James and Lily were in the Order of the Phoenix, which implies facing great dangers. They thought it best for their daughter to grow up in a safer place, at least until the war was over (they couldn’t know they would die before). For the reason why Harry was not hidden the same way, see 3.4 below.

- Her existence was kept secret from birth for her own security, but she stayed with her true parents for some months. When the Potters learned that the Prophecy had been made (and overheard) they decided to send her to a safer place, at least until things had calmed down a bit (again, they couldn’t know they would die before). Harry was not hidden the same way for the reason explained in 3.4 below.

3.4 Why was Hermione hidden ? Why wasn’t Harry hidden ?

Now the big question : why was Hermione originally hidden ? And why wasn’t Harry hidden the same way ?
I assume that the Prophecy was made after Hermione’s birth – see 3.2 above.

I am first going to give what I think is the most plausible answer to this question. Then, we’ll see some alternatives.

I think it was a normal thing to do for people involved in the Order at that time to hide their children the very best they could. Given the dangers that go with Order of the Phoenix membership, this seems quite sensible. So, hiding the children for their safety was a natural thing to do. I suppose James and Lily thought it would be for a short time only : they couldn’t know they would die before the war was over.

Note that the Weasleys were NOT in the Order at that time : so the fact the Weasley children were not hidden does not contradict the above idea.

In that case, we should not wonder why Hermione was hidden, but rather why Harry and Neville were not.

Here is the way I see it :
The Potters had Hermione. Lily’s first pregnancy had been kept secret. Hermione was somehow hidden.
Lily’s second pregnancy was kept secret the same way. And Alice Longbottom’s too.
But then, something crucial happened : the Prophecy was made, and part of it was overheard. And Voldemort used his immense powers to identify who “the One” could be. Lily and Alice tried to hide the fact they were expecting a baby, but they both failed.
Yet, Voldemort didn't find Hermione. Why ? Because – obviously – he wasn’t searching ! He was searching a pregnant woman who had thrice defied him. He was NOT searching a six-month old baby girl.
From that moment on, there was no point hiding Harry’s – and Neville’s – existence from people : Voldemort already knew. Better keep them at home and protect them the best their parents (and the Order) could. But Hermione was kept hidden.

This idea is, I think, the simplest and the best answer to the question. Here is a quote from HBP that could support it.
Dumbledore told Harry :
But he (Snape) did not know - he had no possible way of knowing - which boy Voldemort would hunt from then onwards, or that the parents he would destroy in his murderous quest were people that Professor Snape knew, that they were your mother and father -
Would you say Snape really had “no possible way of knowing” it was going to be Lily and James ?
If he knew Lily was pregnant, he should at least have realised it could be her, shouldn’t he ? There can’t have been dozens of pregnant witches who had thrice defied the Dark Lord around !
This implies that Snape most probably didn't know Lily was pregnant. Which supports the idea that Lily's pregnancy had been hidden in some way.

To conclude, I think this could be the answer : members of the Order would have hidden any babies of theirs at that time : such things really happened in the Muggle World in times of war (during WWII, children were being sent to live in the country when cities were being bombed), and members of the Order were directly engaged in the war. But Lily and Alice were unsuccessful in hiding Harry and Neville, because Voldemort tracked down the parents and the boys to whom the Prophecy could have referred. He “found” Harry and Neville before they were even born.

Now, here are a few alternative ideas :

- Hermione was hidden because hiding a baby was a normal thing to do for members of the Order (as above). But the reason why Harry and Neville were not hidden is that Dumbledore wanted the Prophecy fulfilled. Even if the Prophecy needn't be ever fulfilled, my argument here is that Dumbledore wanted it so, because he wanted Voldemort vanquished.
Thus, he didn’t want to hide the 2 boys who could be “the One” so effectively that Voldemort could never “mark” one.

- Hermione's birth coincided with one of the 3 times the Potters “defied” Voldemort. Although we know nothing about what they did to “defy” him, this could have been a good reason for hiding their daughter at that time.

- Snape... I feel he should be involved somehow... If we suppose he was in love with Lily but she preferred James, and if she had Hermione shortly after, there are many possibilities. JKR wrote : “Snape does not have a daughter”. Was he jealous ?

- One last idea : I used to suggest there could have been a “bloodline reason” : the Potters were the heirs of Gryffindor, and they wanted to keep their children safe from Voldemort for that reason. Harry would not have been hidden because of the Prophecy (as above).
However, in July 2005, JKR said :
MA: That sort of shuts down Heir of Gryffindor (theories), as well.
JKR: (Pause.) Yeah. Well – yeah.

So, I personally gave up on the “heir of Gryffindor” theories. See appendix 1 (variants and alternative theories) though, for some ideas.

The Sibling Theory Essay : Part 1, Part 2

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
Arthur Schopenhauer

Last edited by merlin455; March 6th, 2006 at 5:40 pm.
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